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The Devil's Breath: Danger Zone    by David Gilman order for
Devil's Breath
by David Gilman
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The violent action in The Devil's Breath (a 007-like series for teen readers, focusing on environmental issues) begins on page one and continues its relentless barrage to the very end of this first thrilling Danger Zone episode. The star, athletic fifteen-year-old Max Gordon, attends boys-only Dartmouth High, where the emphasis is on self-reliance.

The adventure begins when Max survives an assassin's bullets on a regular jog on his school grounds - his first clue that something is amiss with his father Tom, a 'hydrologist-geologist-archaeologist, who traveled around the world.' Then Max's best friend Sayid, a computer geek and talented hacker, passes on a message from his father, that sends him to London and from there to Namibia, on the trail of super-villain Shaka Chang (half-Zulu and half-Chinese) who heads an international exploration company (with headquarters at Skeleton Rock) that is building a controversial dam in a massive - and perfidious - hydroelectric scheme.

While Sayid spies on Max's school housemaster, Mr. Peterson, Max copes cleverly with a series of attacks as he travels to Africa. He's met by attractive Kallie van Reenen, who flies him to her wilderness home. There, Max meets a Bushman boy, !Koga, who knows his father and has been waiting for Max to fulfill an ancient prophecy. Max and !Koga travel through the wilderness together, closely followed by what seems like an endless supply of Chang's henchmen. They deal with further attacks as well as the ubiquitous dangers of the African bush itself - and they meet !Koga's people, including an old shapeshifter/healer.

Of course, Max ends up in the villain's desert fortress, meets Chang in person, and ultimately wins the day, fulfilling the Bushman prophecy and developing mystical new talents along the way. I highly recommend The Devil's Breath - which is impossible to put down - not only as a very exciting read, but for its environmental messages, and insights into the way of life of the Bushmen, and their plight in the modern world. Don't miss this new Danger Zone series!

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